This was the day of home visits in the village of Rincones. We had expected a number of additional patients that we would be asked to see, however we were also caught off-guard by a long and difficult hike to reach them. Nonetheless, considering how challenging it was for us to traverse the muddy, rocky terrain, we could only imagine how difficult it must be for those living in these most remote areas. In particular, we were seeing very elderly clients with increasing medical needs as they aged.
We discussed why individuals might choose to live in such remote locations (aside from the amazing views) and it was postulated that for some, it was all they knew. For example, one gentleman we saw told us he had been born in that house and lived there his entire life. While potentially difficult for us to wrap our heads around such an existence, that is their norm and although they may had dirt floors, they certainly seemed to have lived rich lives.
The day ended with a visit to an elderly, bedridden lady who had been so for the last five months. The thin mattress and her frail state led us to be very surprised at the excellent condition of her skin, completely devoid of any signs of breakdown. This was attributable to her totally devoted daughter who told us she changes her mother’s sheets and bathes her every single day. We commended her efforts and she replied most matter-of-factly that “that is just what you do for your parents because they did so much for us.” It was a lesson that hit close to home and undoubtedly rings true across all cultures.